Air conditioning company accused of lying, overcharging elderly customers
Four people say a Fort Myers home services company is preying on elderly customers.
Former customers accuse JNL Home Services LLC of Fort Myers of lying, overcharging for jobs, and even forging a check.
Former employee Angel Vazquez said the bad practices trickle down from the owner, Jesus Jamaica.
“He [Jamaica] preys on the old and the weak,” Vazquez claims.
Teresa Donahue, 90, said when JNL Home Services cold-called her, she thought it was her regular air conditioning company checking on her unit.
“It was working fine; there was nothing wrong,” Donahue said.
She said employees sold her $2,800 worth of work, which she financed. After that, Donahue said her AC stopped working and JNL sold her a second job for about the same cost.
Again, the unit stopped working. Except, this time, she refused to pay any more, so they left her in the heat.
“Oh, it was hot in here. I’ll tell ya,” Donahue said.
While Donahue canceled her finance agreement, she had to buy a new $6,000 unit from someone else, “Which I’ll be paying for till I die because it won’t be long since I’m 90,” Donahue said.
Former employee Vazquez said the price Donahue paid and her age isn’t a coincidence. That’s who Jamaica directed them to pursue.
“She’s old, go get it. That’s how he would say it. Go get the money,” Vazquez said.
Another customer, Sharon Hatch, said she’s been trying to resolve an issue with JNL for almost a year.
“Nobody would ever call back,” Hatch said.
Hatch was on the hook for $4,800 for a job that didn’t get done.
JNL Home Services told her she needed new ductwork, and she agreed to finance the job. But after more thought, Hatch canceled the work within three-days as allowed by law. Still, bills are sent because Jamaica sent a letter telling the financing company – the job got done.
“A short little paragraph saying that the signature I put on their service order was proof that the work was done and completed,” Hatch said.
Vazquez told WINK, “If I went out there and I said listen, this is the only thing that was wrong with it, he [Jamaica] goes that’s all you got? Why didn’t you get the whole air conditioner?”
JNL sold Donald Hobbs a complete new air conditioner system for more than $9,000. When it didn’t work, his son Donald Hobbs Jr., said they charged his dad even more.
“It’s one thing for my dad to say, ‘hey install a new AC unit.’ OK fine. But then when they charged him $6,400 to make it work after they installed it? That’s when it really infuriated me.,” Hobbs Jr. explained.
Vazquez showed WINK News a commission chart he claims he got while employed by Jamaica. It shows employees what they can make if they upsell the right person, exhibiting markups between 8% and 14%.
“I said, ‘why are your prices so high?’ He said because if I get sued, I got money for the lawyers,” Vazquez added.
And JNL is getting sued.
Court documents say employees ripped out World War II veteran Russell Gustin’s AC unit without permission and allegedly forged a check while standing at his countertop.
“My dad was left-handed. He’s always been left-handed and has very distinct handwriting, and it didn’t match the signature. I knew exactly that somebody had forged that,” Donald Gustin, Russell’s son, said.
Russell Gustin passed away in February at the age of 99. While the check was refunded after the lawsuit was filed, Donald’s is till fighting for the other losses and for his dad.
“I think it’s very important that people know this company is not honest, especially the seniors and people who are not able to take care of themselves properly,” D. Gustin said.
Each person WINK News spoke with said JNL Home Services cold-called them.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said “they had an enforcement case against JNL Home Services in 2018 for violations of the Do Not Call List. A $4,000 fine was put in place against them, which they paid in May of 2018.”
A spokesperson added that “Subsequent complaints initiated another enforcement case, which was referred to our Office of General Counsel after the settlement of the previous case concluded. Currently, the case is still open, so no further information can be provided at this time.”
There are 16 complaints on file with the Attorney’s General Office. A spokesperson said the complaints are under active review.
Jamaica told WINK he refunded Donahue’s money and is working with the other customers. Hatch’s financing did get canceled, but Hobbs and Gustin say they haven’t heard from Jamaica.
As for Vazquez, Jamaica said he fired him for theft. Vazquez calls the accusation untrue.